jamie goode's wine blog: Three Rieslings: Chile, South Africa and Germany

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Three Rieslings: Chile, South Africa and Germany

Riesling rocks, even though it's the grape that we in the wine trade have to like. By this, I mean it carries a moral premium and gets talked up perhaps more than it should, because there's this groundswell of opinion that Riesling is the greatest grape variety, such that to suggest otherwise makes you feel like a heretic.

Tonight I'm trying three rather different Rieslings. First, an inexpensive Mosel Riesling, and then two Rieslings from new world countries not normally associated with this variety: Chile and South Africa. Both are quite interesting, made in very different styles, and, at 7.99, relatively affordable. I wouldn't say these wines were quite yet ready to compete with the best from Germany, Austria and Alsace - they are more works in progress. But it is encouraging to see what strides are being made with this variety in the new world.

Morrison's The Best German Riesling NV, Mosel Saar Ruwer, Germany
There's a whiff of minerally sulfur on the nose, which leads to a soft, off-dry palate with honeyed tropical fruit character bolstered by some minerally acidity. Nicely balanced, and at just 8% alcohol this is a really refreshing, quaffable wine. 82/100

Cono Sur Vision Riesling 'Quiltraman' 2007 Bio Bio Valley, Chile
This attractively packaged wine has a forward, perfumed nose of bright lime notes mixed with minerals, sweet honey and floral overtones. The palate is quite rich, with a talcum powder and lime character, together with some savoury minerality and some richness of texture, which I suspect in part comes from a bit of residual sugar, and in part from the high alcohol (14%). It finishes off with crisp acidity. This is a powerful style of Riesling, but it's balanced and quite crisp. A striking wine, and given further experience here I reckon future vintages will be even better. 89/100 (7.99 Majestic, but 6.39 if you buy two)

Paul Cluver Weisser Riesling 2007 Elgin, South Africa
'Weisser Riesling' is a term used in South Africa to describe the true Riesling variety, and this wine comes from the cool climate Elgin region. It's an elegant, dry style of Riesling with apple and lemon fruit combining with a distinctly crisp, mineralic core to make a bone dry wine with a distinctly savoury character that is extremely food friendly. This is a moderately serious wine that is extremely versatile, and represents good value at the price. It is stylistically similar to Clare Valley Riesling, I reckon. South Africa should be making more Riesling, although I imagine it can be a tough wine to sell. 88/100 (7.99 Jeroboams/Laytons)

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At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Shon said...

The Cono Sur Riesling is excellent, and brilliant value. The Cono Sur/Casillero del Diablo range seems to be the best 'everyday' range out there at the moment.

At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Keith Prothero said...

Jamie at a dinner I hosted recently for David Wainwright,Remington Norman produced a bottle of 91 Kaapzicht Riesling.
It was stunning,and David remarked how well it would do in a blind tasting.
Trouble is Kaapzicht scrubbed up all their riesling vines a few years ago.Criminal!!

At 6:01 PM, Blogger mrfroopy said...

Jamie, I know that there is a certain attitude in the trade about how Riesling is the greatest and most unfairly unpopular grape, but it truly is great.. However the most underappreciated grape is Chenin Blanc. and i would put it up there as one of the greatest grapes, but like Pinot, very unforgiving to crappy or uncaring winemaking.
also.. Isn't Australia really deserving to be listed with Austria, Germany and Alsace for their Rieslings?

At 8:32 AM, Anonymous Cru Master said...

Lots of great wines coming out of Elgin - look out for Belfield.

Keith when are you in SA again?

At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Keith Prothero said...

Cru Master.I am in the Cape and have been for over a month.The dinner was in Somerset West


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